Sport
Rob Powell gives his post-match team talk

Powell brings stability and strength to Richmond FC

New Richmond FC head coach Rob Powell is bringing stability and strength to the club following a bruising season in the RFU Championship.

Having played four fewer matches, the semi-professional team are already 13 points better off than last campaign, in which they finished bottom with the least points scored and the most points conceded.

Richmond achieved hard-fought victories over Nottingham and Bedford, while their grudge match against London Scottish ended in an emphatic 43-21 win for Powell’s side.

Many will point to Richmond’s impressive recruitment over the summer – particularly with the arrival of Mark Bright, James Kane, Will Carrick-Smith, Will Homer and James Lennon – but Powell is keen to stress the importance of the team over the individual.

He said: “We’ve recruited some good players. I don’t think we should underestimate that.

“But actually, I think that everyone’s contributed and whoever’s come on, including the subs, they’ve added something.”

Powell, 41, was promoted to head coach from defence coach in the summer, but his attention has rested on improving attacking play, which has proved key to the turnaround in results.

He added: “The major focus has been on trying to get punchier in our attack, scoring points, playing with more tempo and more movement of the ball.

“We played quite a conservative style for a while and now we’re playing a little more freely, without the shackles on us.”

Powell also points to clear messaging and total buy-in from the players as important factors in Richmond’s improvement, but doesn’t neglect to hail the return of fans to the Richmond Athletic Ground.

He said: “I think they’ve had a massive impact. We definitely missed them last year because they’re a very loud fanbase and really supportive of the team.

“It’s really exciting to be down at the RAG at the moment with big crowds and lots of people enjoying what’s going on.”

Despite the upturn in performances, the former London Bronco’s head coach is keeping his feet on the ground with regards to Richmond’s short-to-medium-term future.

He said: “The jump to the next level is pretty steep and you need a hell of a lot of money to do that, so I think it would be wrong to start speculating about promotion.

“We haven’t got the sort of money that even some of the other part-time clubs in the league have got and to be playing at this sort of level is pretty special.

“What we do is try to provide a really good environment where players can train, play, get better and enjoy their rugby.

“We just want to be the best performing community-based club in the country.”

Richmond’s next fixture at the Athletic Ground is against Ampthill on Saturday 20 November at 1pm and you can click here to book your match tickets.

Featured image credit: Dante K Photography

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